- Keywords: Stamp rally, differentiation, learning variety, learner engagement
- Learner English level: All levels
- Learner maturity: All ages
- Preparation time: 30 minutes
- Activity time: 1 hour +
- Materials: A stamp sheet, station instructions, stamps and ink pads (optional)
Stamp rallies involve setting up learning stations in the classroom, each containing a different task to be completed in a 5-minute period. The number of stations will depend on the class size and duration. For our large classes (28 students+) of 90-minute length, we typically set up ten to twelve. Students work in pairs or groups of three at each station to complete the task. The tasks at each station should be easy to understand, contain variety, and aim to incorporate different language skills. Example tasks include: communication tasks, free reading, small group chat, short free write, investigative stations, picture stations, role-playing stations, iPad games, listening tasks (see Appendices for task examples). A timer and buzzer are useful here which can be displayed via the projector to add time-pressure to each activity. After completing the task, students should stamp their answer sheet (see Appendices) and then move on to the next station until they have visited all of them. The stamping of stamp sheets helps learners see which tasks they have completed as well as provide a sense of achievement.
Stamp rallies provide a lively, student-centred and effective means to differentiate learning by engaging students of any age or level in a variety of learning tasks around a topic or language point. They offer a range of language practice opportunities across all skills and are also an effective way to enhance student engagement in large classes.
Step 1: Prior to the class, the teacher first prepares the tasks for each “station”. These can be broad or narrow. However, we find it works well if they cover a variety of skills and task-types. Print these along with any accompanying materials needed for each task.
Step 2: Design the answer sheet and make enough copies for each student.
Step 3: Buy stamps and ink pads. Alternatively, students could sign their name instead of using a stamp. When students finish each task they should stamp their answer sheet to indicate that they completed the task.
Step 1: Students choose their own partner, or the teacher designates groupings. Distribute answer sheets.
Step 2: Display a countdown timer with a projector if possible. Alternatively, have your own timer and countdown the time on the board by writing when students have 2 minutes, 1 minute remaining, etc.
Step 3: Instruct students firstly to read the station instructions. When students are ready, press start on the timer. Monitor and assist at all stations as necessary. When the time is up, students should move with their partner to the next station in the room.
Step 4: After students have completed the tasks at each station, either collect the answer sheets for marking or go through any answers with them.
The purpose of stamp rallies is to facilitate learning by offering a range of language practice opportunities through the various tasks. They are an effective way to differentiate learning in a classroom through the variety provided, and they can support both learner engagement and output. They are particularly effective as a review activity towards the end of a unit. Finally, they enable the teacher to provide individual attention and monitoring to all students.
The appendices are available below: